Canids form the most widely distributed family within the order Carnivora, with members present in a multitude of different environments from cold arctic to hot, dry deserts. We reviewed the literature and compared 24 data sets available on the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of 12 canid species, accounting for body mass and climate, to examine inter- and intraspecific variations in mass-adjusted BMR between 2 extreme climates (arctic and hot desert). Using both conventional and phylogenetically independent analysis of covariance, we found that canids from the arctic climate zone had significantly higher mass-adjusted BMR than species from hot deserts. Canids not associated with either arctic or desert climates had an intermediate and more variable mass-adjusted BMR. The climate effect also was significant at the intraspecific level in species for which we had data in 2 different climates. Arctic and desert climates represent contrasting combinations of ambient temperatures and water accessibility that require opposite physiological adaptations in terms of metabolism. The fact that BMR varies within species when individuals are subjected to different climate regimes further suggests that climate is an important determinant of BMR.
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